|Explosion and smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the |
Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Photo: Ariel Schalit / AP.
The fighting showed no signs of slowing after dark. Israeli aircraft carried out dozens of attacks on militant targets in Gaza, while militants fired barrages of rockets throughout the day. The fighting began on Wednesday after Israel killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike, then attacked dozens of rocket launchers. The offensive follows weeks of rocket fire out of Gaza. The United Nations says a teacher who worked for a relief agency, Marwan Abu El Qumsan, was also killed in Gaza. Thursday's attacks on Tel Aviv, some of the deepest rocket strikes from Gaza on record, set air raid sirens blaring and sparked panic in the streets of the normally laid-back commercial and cultural capital. Israeli Channel 2 TV showed panicked Tel Aviv residents running for cover and lying down on the ground after the sirens began wailing. Diners hid under tables in a restaurant, and traffic snarled on the city's main north-south highway. There were no injuries. Workers and visitors at offices in a Tel Aviv skyscraper froze for a few seconds in silence as the sound of the sirens wafted through the open windows.
Some murmured "I don't believe it," but everyone quickly and calmly rose and walked to the stairwell to go down to the building's bomb shelter. Many reached for their mobile phones to call loved ones and urge them to run to a protected space, while others kept dialing in frustration as cell networks were overloaded. One of the rockets landed in an open area of Rishon Lezion, a city on Tel Aviv's southern outskirts, while police said the other two appeared to have landed in the sea. Although there were no injuries, Israel considers any attempt to disrupt life in Tel Aviv to be a major escalation. Defense officials say Israel is prepared to launch a ground invasion into Gaza if necessary. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the army was prepared for a "significant widening" of its Gaza offensive. "No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation," he said. "This is why my government has instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. And this is why Israel will continue to take whatever action is necessary to defend our people." Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh eulogized Jabari in a televised speech on Thursday night. "What a martyrdom and what a glorious day," he said. "Congratulations. Rest in peace. Feel blessed." He said Palestinians remained steadfast and defiant during the 22 days of the last Gaza war in 2009 and could hold out for even longer. - CBS News.
WATCH: Hamas rockets hits Tel Aviv.